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An X-ray ptycho-tomography model of ‘Seeing order in “amorphous” materials’

DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2019.02.006 DOI Help

Authors: Peng Li (University of Sheffield) , Darren Batey (Diamond Light Source) , John Rodenburg (University of Sheffield)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Ultramicroscopy

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 11877

Abstract: The nature of the atomic structure of many non-crystalline materials remains a long-standing open question. We use X-ray scattering to model electron images of amorphous materials, where the analogue ‘atoms’ consist of 1μm diameter glass beads. The beads form a substantially random close-packed structure, but are partially ordered in places. X-ray ptycho-tomography reveals the exact position of the beads in 3D and so can be used to compare the modelled electron image with full knowledge of the underlying real structure. Using this, we repeat an experiment reported by Archie Howie and colleagues in 1978 that sought to test for real structure in bright-field electron images of amorphous materials; we demonstrate the validity of the technique, at least in the case of the resolution of the microscopes available at that time and the first Born approximation. We also illustrate how extremely demanding it would have been to infer 3D structure of amorphous material from pairs of stereoscopic images obtained with the same experimental kit: an approach that Archie proposed in the 1970s. We briefly discuss the possibility of using electron ptycho-tomography to solve the amorphous structure problem.

Journal Keywords: Amorphous; Non-Crystalline; Ptychography; Electron imaging; Ptycho-tomography; X-ray imaging

Subject Areas: Materials


Instruments: I13-1-Coherence